RUSH: We’re awaiting a White House lynching, which is soon to be coming. Sean Spicer will be drawn and quartered by the Drive-By Media as he seeks to explain why Trump has not yet resigned the presidency and the media will be demanding to know when they can expect that to happen.
RUSH: Okay. Here we go, Spicer talking about Flynn, the press briefing. We JIP it now.
SPICER: The situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions. President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea. At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with Russia, unlike previous administrations, so that we can solve many problems together facing the world, such as the threat of ISIS and terrorism.
The president is currently evaluating a group of very strong candidates that will be considered to fill the national security adviser position permanently, and is confident in the ability of General Kellogg, a decorated and distinguished veteran of the United States Army, until that person is ultimately chosen.
Before I get into the president’s schedule for today, a quick recap of the president’s activity over the last few days since we haven’t had the honor of sharing so much time together. The president’s been keeping a close eye on the Oroville Dam situation in California. We’ve worked closely with Doug LaMalfa, who represents California’s First District, where the dam is located, and other state officials to help people who have been impacted. The situation is a textbook example of why we–
RUSH: Okay. Fade that down. I want to tell you a little bit of what Spicer said before our break ended. He basically said that the president has been incredibly tough on Russia, is going to continue to be tough on Russia, that they’re not gonna cut Russia any slack whatsoever. Clearly that was intended to rebut the premise out there that Trump is in bed with the Russians and that Flynn was running some advance work for Trump to remove sanctions that the exalted Obama slapped on the Russians for stealing the election from Hillary. That seems to be the premise. So now Spicer is recounting some of the things Trump has been doing. He’s gonna get into Trump’s schedule for the rest of the day, and then they’ll go to the sharks and their bites, which will be the questions for Spicer.
RUSH: Okay, the sharks and the piranha fish are biting. We rejoin the White House press briefing.
SPICER: … with what he had sent the vice president out in particular. The White House council informed the president immediately. The president asked him to conduct a review whether there was a legal situation there. It was immediately determined that there wasn’t. That was what the president believed at the time from what he had been told —
SPICER: — and he was proved to be correct. The issue, pure and simple, came down to a matter of trust, and the president concluded that he no longer had the trust of his national security adviser over —
REPORTER: But — but — but — but was it proper for the incoming national security , not part of an administration, to be discussing an issue as sensitive as sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
SPICER: His job is to discuss issues with his counterparts. Charles Krauthammer put it perfectly last night: That’s what he’s supposed to be doing. I mean, that’s his job. I mean, we would constantly meted out throughout the transition who he was speaking to, how he was getting ready, the president was receiving congratulatory calls from around the world. We would read out the world leader calls. The job of the incoming NSA is to sit down with the counterparts and start that dialogue, and that’s exactly what he did.
RUSH: That’s right.
SPICER: So the question wasn’t, “Did he do anything improper or illegal?” It’s a question of, “Could he be trusted further?” and that trust or the erosion of that trust was frankly the issue.
PRESS POOL: (shouting questions)
REPORTER: Did the president instruct him to talk about sanctions with the Russians?
SPICER: No, absolutely not! No, no, no. But that… No, and that’s never —
REPORTER: So what do you prefer he talk about, (unintelligible)?
RUSH: See, this is it right here. This is it.
SPICER: I think the president had no problem with the fact that he acted in accord with what his job was supposed to be doing. He had an ability to talk about issues that were important, whether that or the 30 other countries that he spoke to. That was part of his job. As has been noted by many people, that’s what the national security adviser — and, frankly, other positions — do, they begin the process of preparing their incoming job by talking to counterparts, people who’ve previously held the job, et cetera. If he had not done that, there would be questions to whether he was properly prepared on day one.
REPORTER: (unintelligible) … conversation about sanctions?
SPICER: No. The issue isn’t whether or not — what he discussed. There’s been a complete legal review of that, and there’s no issue with that. The issue is whether or not he failed to properly inform the vice president or not be honest with him or not remember it. But that’s the plain-and-simple issue, and when he lost trust with the president, that’s when the president asked for and received his resignation.
PRESS POOL: (shouting questions)
RUSH: There you go. That’s it. That’s their story, they’re sticking with it.
REPORTER: Yesterday Kellyanne Conway, councilor to the president, uh, said that the president continued to have trust in General Flynn.
REPORTER: What happened between yesterday morning and yesterday evening that led the president to lose confidence in General Flynn?
SPICER: Well, I’m not gonna get into the specifics of what the president thinking was, but I will just say as I noted in the opening statement that it was an evolving and eroding process, and so, at the end of the day, the president made a decision — as he does on all subjects — and asked for and received the national security’s adviser’s resignation. But he is one of those people that we’ve noted before, when he’s ready to make a decision he makes it. Whether it’s hiring somebody or asking for someone’s resignation. Once he has determined that he has made a decision on any subject, that’s when he informs the staff. So going into the day it was an evolving situation. He made a determination late in the day, and he executed on it.
PRESS POOL: (shouting questions)
RUSH: Somebody ask him if the media played a role in it. Somebody ask that.
REPORTER: (unintelligible) …General Flynn. Was it a difficult decision for the president to let General Flynn go?
SPICER: Well, sure! I mean, General Flynn is a dedicated public servant. He has headed the DIA. He has been an outstanding member of the Army both as an officer and then as a flag officer. He served this country admirably, and I think the president appreciated his service to his nation —
SPICER: — his commitment to his campaign, and his service to his country so far. But at some point the decision came down on whether or not that trust had eroded. The important matters, as I mentioned, that are before the president when he’s dealing with issues of world matters. Of all of the issues — friends and allies, foes, hot spots — he needs to rely on the national security adviser to give him sage advice. And I think at a certain point that guidance, that trust, eroded, and the president, as he does on all matters ultimately decides that when he’s ready to make a decision he executes. Alexis?
REPORTER: Question: Does the president believe that anything that he discussed with General Flynn during the transition might have been construed by the general —
RUSH: Looks like Gloria Swanson asking a question there.
REPORTER: — as a plus or encouragement to discuss the sanctions with the Russian ambassador? That’s question number one.
RUSH: It’s like I’m watching Sunset Boulevard here.
SPICER: So… I’m gonna pause. So on the first: Again, as I made clear, there’s nothing that the general did that was a violation of any sort. He was well within his duties —
RUSH: Well, then you got rid of him ’cause the media was hounding you!
SPICER: I will say it again. What this came down to is a matter of trust.
RUSH: Well, who…?
SPICER: The president was glad that he was out there conducting his job, preparing for his job, going back and forth with —
RUSH: Well, who…?
SPICER: — his counterparts throughout the world much as the president had done with all of these world leaders calling the president, congratulating him, looking to set up calls for him when he was inaugurated, similarly General Flynn was beginning that process with his counterparts throughout the world. That was never of a concern to the president from day one —
RUSH: Well, then…?
SPICER: — that he was briefed from the White House counsel. The issue, plain and simply, came down to a matter of trust and once that occurred, it was over. So, I’m sorry, that’s —
RUSH: All right, they got their talking point. They’re not… That’s it. “Lost trust in the guy.” But why? Did the media cause that to happen? What happened?
REPORTER: (crosstalk) …place — and we know from intel it did —
REPORTER: — on sanctions, create a problem for the president in any — in any away? That — that is not a problem that — that General Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russians?
RUSH: Why don’t you guys ask if Trump regrets that he won? Just get it out of there.
SPICER: Um, no. I think… I can’t state clearly enough: There was nothing in what General Flynn did in terms of conducting himself that was an issue.
RUSH: Uh-oh. This is…
SPICER: What came down to, plain and simple, was him misleading the vice president —
RUSH: Sounds like a great guy!
SPICER: — and others, and not having a firm grasp on his recollection of that. That’s it. Uh —
REPORTER: Question number two. Uh, lawmakers on Capitol Hill from both sides of the aisle —
SPICER: — would like to, uhh, investigate a probe or ask more questions about this. Does the president hope to cooperate with those investigations? Would he instruct the members who, uhh — of his staff who worked for him here and in the —
RUSH: Oh-ho-ho! (chuckling) Let’s see what we get here.
REPORTER: — uh, in the administration to cooperate with those investigations?
SPICER: Well, we’re gonna comply with the law. Um, I think the president feels very confident the review that was conducted by White House counsel was very thorough and concluded very conclusively has he had first come to — instinctively come to — the conclusion that there was nothing wrong. So, you know, people are free to do what they wish. But I think that they will find exactly what the president first believed and what the White House counsel concluded. And, frankly, I believe a couple publications even reported that there was no investigation for a reason, because there was not an issue of law; it was not issue of trust. George?
PRESS POOL: (shouting questions)
RUSH: That’s true.
SPICER: George. (unintelligible)
REPORTER: When do you expect to have a replacement, uh, in place, and secondly on — on another topic within there was a report yesterday that one of your colleagues said the White House is keeping dossiers on reporters.
REPORTER: Can you say if that’s true or not?
RUSH: Ha! Ha! Haaaaaa!
SPICER: Uh, that’s absolutely not true. There are no dossiers being kept. Just a binder that I put right here. Uhhh…
PRESS POOL: (silence)
RUSH: Oh, come on!
SPICER: That’s about it.
PRESS POOL: (total silence)
SPICER: That was a joke. (nervous laughter) Hold — hold on one second. I’m sorry, George. The first part?
RUSH: Tell ’em they got dossiers on reporters. They’re gonna want to be in ’em!
REPORTER: Timetable on replacement?
SPICER: Uh, as soon… Just like the way he handled this situation, the president will meet with — with individuals, and when he’s ready to make a decision and he feels as though the person is qualified, uh, and can —
RUSH: (deep sigh)
SPICER: — properly advise him on issue, he’ll make that decision. But that, as with all decisions, rests with him. I’m just gonna go with my first Skype seat: John Huck of WKVVU out of Las Vegas. John?
REPORTER: Thank you so much on behalf of our viewers here in Southern Nevada for the opportunity to join you today. As you know, Sean, Las Vegas has suffered terribly in the last recession, more so than perhaps any other city in the country.
RUSH: With what?
REPORTER: As the administration moves forward with repealing financial regulations and possibly rolling back Dodd-Frank, what guarantees to you make to Nevadans that those actions won’t lead banks and investment banks to reengage with the risky financial behaviors that tanked our economy the last time and left taxpayers here on the hook to bail those banks out?
SPICER: Thanks, John. I think one of the things, if you look at the intent of Dodd-Frank, it was to make sure that we didn’t have institutions that were too big to fail. And, frankly, it has actually created institutions that are now too big to fail.
RUSH: Okay, we got what we wanted. We wanted the answers to the Flynn circumstance. I’ll just tell you what I heard, you correct me if I’m wrong. Flynn’s a great guy. He was doing a great job. He didn’t do anything illegal. He didn’t do anything unethical. He just didn’t tell the truth to the vice president. He sent the vice president out there and made the vice president look bad. The vice president was telling everybody that Flynn did not bring up anything when talking to the Russian ambassador, and then later we find out that Flynn did.
So he had misled the vice president, the vice president had gone out there and because of that, had misrepresented what he thought the truth was, and so Flynn had lost trust. Trump had lost trust with Flynn because now once he’s lied once or once he’s been unsure of what he said to who, and the president feels he can’t rely on him anymore, even though he didn’t do anything wrong, substantively he’s a good guy, he’s a great patriot, strictly a matter of trust. And that’s the answer that Spicer gave, and he stuck with it no matter what the question was.
But I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen. In his answer and repeated answers, he obviously repeatedly complimented Flynn. He talked about what a patriot the guy is, what a great American he is, how great he was doing as national security — but he just lost the president’s trust. One of the Drive-Bys said (paraphrasing), “Well, yesterday morning everything was hunky-dory and then late last night you get rid of the guy. What happened during the day to cause the trust to dissolve?”
“Well, we’re not gonna get into the daily machinations of how the president’s day goes and this and that. Suffice it to say it’s a matter of trust. There have even been some people that said no investigation here is even necessary. Nothing wrong happened.” And he quoted Dr. Krauthammer saying it’s much ado about nothing other than the lie to the vice president. So that’s what they’re gonna try to stick with.
RUSH: Spicer just got to the nub of something here in the break, and this is good. He keeps trying to steer the media to the story here, the real story here is the leaks. And he didn’t say this, but I’m just gonna tell you. If this had all happened with Obama in the White House and Obama’s national security person had made a phone call with the Russians, you wouldn’t know about it, we wouldn’t know about it. Nobody would have leaked it.
Now, the story here is Flynn has this conversation with the Russian ambassador, which most everybody agrees is perfectly normal, understandable, and sensible. He’s the incoming national security adviser. He’s making phone calls, not just to the Russians. He’s calling other foreign governments and setting up future powwows with Trump on the phone. It’s part of the transition. The reason we know about this is that there was a leak of the substance of the phone call.
And we’re now back to this name, Sally Yates, who claims that she knew the details of the phone call and that she tried to warn the president about this when it happened. She’s an Obama holdover. So Spicer correctly said, “We have people in this government who are leaking.” I’ll tell you what this is. Again, I have to speculate. It’s intelligence guided by experience. I think that there are people in the intelligence community and in the law enforcement community who do not like Trump at all.
It’s ideological. It has nothing to do with what Trump said at any time during the campaign. It has nothing to do with what Trump said about immigration. He may have said some things that insulted some intelligence people along the way in the campaign, but this is ideological. And, by the way, it’s also establishment versus outsider. Many of the people in the intelligence — I’m stunned at how many people, and it’s understandable, so I ought not be stunned. But I nevertheless am stunned by how many Americans think that everybody in law enforcement is a first class, A number one patriot, and that everybody in the intelligence community is.
We have 300 million people in this country and we don’t all think alike, and we all don’t define patriotism the same way, and not all of us love America. And some of them, the leftists, think America’s guilty. Some think that America’s the problem in the world, America’s not the solution, and some of them work in the intelligence community, some of them work at the CIA, some of them work at the FBI, some of them work everywhere.
And if you’ve got enemies of Trump because he’s not establishment, he’s an outsider, if you have people there who’ve devoted their lives to gathering intelligence around the world to protect the United States, but they’ve got a differing ideology, you see it — the left every day on the protest march, you see how deranged and unhinged they are and how they put everything about them first and the country comes second, third, or way even lower down the list.
So, to me, it appears if Sally Yates had the details of the phone call between Flynn and the Russian ambassador and if she was trying to get hold of Trump, the Trump transition to advise them this was going on, well, I’m not saying she’s the leaker, don’t misunderstand, but somebody is. Somebody had to leak this. And it’s clear to me, has Trump hired people that he doesn’t know are opposed to him? Has Trump hired people that are just now getting settled in the bureaucracy? I don’t think so. Trump hasn’t got that many people confirmed!
It’s a known fact that Trump’s cabinet, the latest to be confirmed and put to work — (interruption) Well, I don’t know, secure line, you mean Flynn, why anyone secure — I don’t know. I have no idea why. But if he was on a secure line somebody either didn’t give him one — I have no idea. That’s just all part of the mix. Why was somebody able to listen in? Why was somebody able to tap? It’s clearly people within the government who have absolutely no use for Trump who are doing their best to undermine him and his administration.
And Spicer basically alleged it, he alluded to it and told the media, “Look, I know I can’t sit here and tell you guys how to do your jobs, but this is a huge this story, and it happens not just to us, there were leaks in the Obama administration, leaks –” (interruption) Well, that’s true. There have been leaks, I mean, it’s a way of life in Washington, you’re never gonna wipe ’em out. But the media, if you’ve got a leak that they like that can help them move their agenda forward, they’re not gonna have a problem with it at all, like this one.
As I say, if this had happened in Obama’s transition in 2008 before he was inaugurated, we’d a never heard about this. This wouldn’t have caused a movement on the Richter scale at all. Nobody would have thought there was anything about this.